Tuesday, 16 December 2014


The Gwar on Drugs - Lost in the Dream 
On this third album, Adam Granduciel finally managed to make his miserable Dire Straits-ish textured roots-rock into something actually entertaining by dressing up as an extra-terrestrial barbarian warrior and singing about meat sandwiches.

Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Soused
A renowned artsy singer-songwriter teamed up with a notoriously loud heavy metal band to collaborate on an opus that was so out-there it would take literally centuries for the world to fully comprehend their ground-breaking compositions. But that’s enough about Loutallica, let’s talk about Scott O))). The robe-clad drone duo did their claustrophobic rumble shtick while Scott “tunes are for numpties” Walker crooned words like “Behold. The hidden dance. Of the tree babies. Hi-ho. She goes. Upon heaving bump quilt. Contorted leper trim. Higgledy-baa-baa-never.” A thousand musos stroked their chins so hard that their faces actually started to flop out of themselves like Javier Bardem’s jaw in Skyfall.

Warpaint - Warpaint 
Remember 2013? Remember how excited you were about the prospect of a second Warpaint album? What happened next? Warpaint? More like Bore-paint! Listening to Warpaint’s second album was like staring in jaded futility at one of those magic eye pictures, waiting for something to happen, waiting for something interesting to emerge out of that impenetrable, shapeless pattern. Nearly 12 months later, still nothing has materialized. Warpaint? More like Yawn-paint! One newspaper feature on the band screamed Warpaint on their new album: “Sexy was an adjective we’d use”. The only logical conclusion is that sex with Warpaint must be intolerably dull. Warpaint? More like Wartchingpaintdry!

Royal Blood - Royal Blood
Generic chuggy stoner riffs. A singer who sounds like Freddie Mercury. And an English drummer in a baseball cap. Dave Grohl is a big fan.

Lenny Kravitz - Strut
“Baby baby / STRUT! / Let me see you walk / STRUT! / Baby / Let your body talk / STRUT! / Talky-talky-talky / STRUT! / Walky-walky-walky / STRUT! / Something something move / STRUT! / Something something prove / Baby baby baby”

Perhaps he lost his real lyrics somewhere in that preposterous scarf.

Beck - Fawning Maze
MOJO magazine’s favourite album of 2002.

Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Joust
An ambitious concept album based on the old codes of chivalry in medieval jousting tournaments. Over Sunn O)))’s signature guitar rumblings, Walker crooned tuneless phrases about knights, armour, horses and King Henry II of France. For extra authenticity, Walker held onto a jousting stick for the entire recording session and now has quite a poorly arm.

Swans - To Be Kind
What do we want?
The same loud dirging chords played over and over again while a misanthropist moans about lambs and lungs and shit and then actually pretends to be leader of the 1791 Haitian slave rebellion Toussaint L’Ouverture.
When do we want it?
For the next three hours or so.

Aphex Twin - Sigh-woe
Wire magazine’s favourite album of 1996.

Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Doused
An ambitious concept album based on the cultural history of fire. Over Sunn O)))’s signature guitar rumblings, Walker crooned tuneless phrases about flint, gas, the sun, Satan, Prometheus and the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. For extra authenticity, Walker doused himself in lighter fluid, set himself on fire and experienced third-degree burns. Still suffered less pain than his listeners.

Sleaford Mods - Divide and Exit
“Fuckin’ rantin’ / I’m fuckin’ fuckin’ rantin’ / I’m fuckin’ ‘avin’ a rant here, yeah? / I stepped in a fuckin’ shit and it smelt a bit like a fuckin’ piss and there’s fuckin’ sick on the crotch of me fuckin’ jeans and fuckin’ snot all over me fuckin’ shitty shirt sleeve / fuck it / I’m fuckin’ ‘avin’ a rant here, yeah? / Fuckin’ fuckin’ observational reference to something from off of culture and shit / Spongebob Squarepants has got a nutrigrain bar stuck up his yellow arse, mate / fuck off John Cooper fuckin’ Clarke, you look like you’ve borrowed Paul McCartney’s bottle of fuckin’ hair dye, you frazzled old fucker / off me head I mistook the piss-bowl for a sink and now someone’s done a fuckin’ youtube of me washin’ me hands with pissy urinal cake, you c***”

Taylor Swift -1984
Swift’s 1984 was an ambitious concept album on which the Nashville country star reinvented herself as an anti-totalitarian socialist intellectual taking satirical dystopian pot-shots at nationalism, censorship and government surveillance. Set in the bleak near future, the dark electro-clash of opening track ‘Welcome to New York’ painted the Big Apple as a grim metropolis where citizens are indoctrinated into dancing forever, thus permanently prevented from using their individual brainpower or physical energy to enact social or political reform, with Swift’s robotic vocals serving to extenuate the dehumanising effects of urbanity. ‘This Love’, meanwhile, was a haunting minimalist ballad influenced by the likes Grouper and Christina Carter that dealt with the psychological after-effects of having your noggin shoved into a cage full of rats. 1984 proved such a powerful record that it single-handedly influenced Russell Brand’s decision to transform himself from a shoddy TV presenter, shoddy film star and shoddy jester into the horniest political activist since Martin Luther King Jr.

Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Aroused
An ambitious attempt to create a post-millennial equivalent of Marvin Gaye’s sexually-charged masterpiece Let’s Get It On. Over Sunn O)))’s signature guitar rumblings, Walker crooned the kind of unrepeatable filth that would make even Prince blush. About as erotic as being trapped in Francis Bacon’s meat freezer while Edwina Currie from TV’s celebrity jungle gives you a detailed description of John Major’s grey discharge.

Future Islands - Singles
Did you see it? Did you see it on the telly? (Of course not, but did you see it on the internet after it was on telly?) Did you see him? Did you see what he did? He did a dance. A dance! While singing! Dancing and singing! Imagine that! This was Elvis’ Ed Sullivan performance for the WhatsApp generation. Wonderfully or depressingly so, it was literally the best thing that happened in the whole stupid year.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014


Multi-membered Staten Island rap crew the Wu-Tang Clan have revealed details of their forthcoming album, A Better Tupperware. Capitalizing on the success of Inspectah Deck’s game-changing 8 Diagrams line about how “Wu-Tang keep it fresh like Tupperware”, the Wu have formulated an entire concept record based around the long-thriving manufacturer of plastic food containers.

“You think I’m kidding? That’s where I keep my sandwiches / One I filled with tuna and the other’s got ham in it”, spits Deck on the album’s centrepiece, ‘Pioneer the Tupperware’. Ghostface Killah follows this with four verses narrating the biography of innovative Tupperware sales representative Brownie Wise (1913-1992). Ghostface’s moving tribute concludes with the heroic lines, “Wise by name, wise by nature / Her Tupperware parties sure took the lead / Truth be told, her food don’t get old / Only Brownie I ever loved that wasn’t full of weed”.

Other highlights of the album include Method Man blessing the Clan with his presence by briefly popping his head through the studio door between shooting scenes for some TV cop drama. Admittedly going slightly off the food preservation topic, Meth’s verse is still a remarkable 20-second tour de force during which he manages to compare himself to a wolf, a horse, a serial killer, another wolf, Muhammed Ali, Barack Obama, a werewolf (that by day is a wolf), all four of The Beatles, Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby Gillespie, several Al Pacino characters (not the Cruising one), a couple of superheroes, Genghis Khan, Mahatma Gandhi and Shan-Yu from Disney’s Mulan.

Musically, A Better Tupperware sees RZA utilizing classic Wu tropes while also evolving the aesthetics of the crew’s backing tracks. His compositions use field recordings taken from large Tupperware factories, samples of Tupperware lids popping on and off and back on again and, having now exhausted dialogue from every vintage kung fu movie ever made, several soundbites from Chris Farley’s 1997 martial arts comedy flop Beverly Hills Ninja.

Unfortunately, the RZA could not find any archive recordings of deceased Wu member Ol’ Dirty Bastard rapping specifically about Tupperware. Nevertheless, he still felt it necessary to shoehorn in a few scrapings of poorly-recorded ODB vocals retrieved from his increasingly bare barrel of demos. “Dirty, dirty, dirty”, announces a gruff voice virtually obscured by the static fuzz of a cheap phone-line, “dirty, dirty, dirty...” It’s the ODB reduced to single-word, two-syllable, single-minded monotony. “Dirty, dirty, dirty,” continues Ol’ Dirty, “dirty, dirty dirty / Here comes Dirty / He’s dirty, dirty, dirty / You’d better watch out / Fo’ dirty, dirty Dirty...” This goes on for about four minutes before Raekwon interrupts with, “That’s enough, son / I think yo’ dead, son / But truth be told, son / I think we’re all done”.

A limited edition pressing of the album will come sealed in an authentic ‘Wu-ware’ Tupperware container retailing at 3000 times the price of a standard storage tub.

Monday, 27 October 2014


BBC Radio 1 have revealed a stunning new project for which DJ Zane Lowe has commissioned his favourite artists to reinterpret the musical score of classic children’s television series Brum.

The ambitious task sees the likes of Chvrches, Bastille and Foals providing an alternative soundtrack to famous Brum episodes such as ‘Brum and the Lost Kitten’, ‘Brum Goes Shopping’ and ‘Brum and the Implausible Getaway Driver Who Only Drives You For Five Minutes’.

Translated into several different languages, Brum is cherished throughout the world for its charming mechanical lead character, whimsical adventure plot-lines and scenes of needlessly gratuitous physical violence.

Lowe’s controversial project has come under fire from fans of the series, who insist that Kjartan Poskitt’s original theme tune and Daniel Jones’ incidental music cannot be bettered. Responding to the criticisms, Zane Lowe shrugged his shoulders and said, “I’m Zane Lowe, suckers.”

Lowe has presented Radio 1’s evening show since 2003, during which time he has expressed furious excitement for all the music he loves being told to play.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014


Pink Floyd have revealed the tracklisting and artwork for their new album, The Endless Guitar Solo, which will be released on November 10.

The Endless Guitar Solo tracklisting is:

1) Things Left Unsaid (Said)
2) It’s What We Do (Play Guitar Solos For Quite a Long Time)
3) The Ebb and Flow (Of My Frankly Quite Impressive Guitar Solos)
4) Sum (Royalties Plus Tour Profits Plus Merch Sales Plus Expenses Equals?)
5) Drumskins (Pounded Hard To Be Heard Over The Top Of The Loud Guitar Solos)
6) Unsung (Non-instrumental Version)
7) Sounds A Bit Like A Retro Radiohead This One
8) The Lost Art Of Conversation (Sorry, Couldn’t Hear You, I Was Busy Playing One Of My Signature Guitar Solos)
9) On Guitar Noodle Street
10) Night Light (For When I Need To Play Guitar Solos In The Dark)
11) Baloney pt. 1
12) Autumn’68, I Remember It Well, I Was Practising My Guitar Solos
13) Baloney pt. 2
14) Talkin’ ‘Bout Guitar Solos
15) Calling All Guitar Bores
16) Fingers To Guitar Strings
17) Resurfacing, Once Again, To Remind You Of My Unequalled Guitar Soloing Abilities
18) Louder Than Words (My Guitar Solos Are)

Tuesday, 2 September 2014


One consequence of the ascent of the information superhighway is that the ideal music review is no longer the best one but simply the first. With that in mind, what I’ve done may not be entirely legal but it at least means that SPINAL BAP has successfully bagged THE VERY FIRST REVIEW OF SYRO BY THE APHEX TWIN. Security around this release is tighter than Barry Hogan’s purse strings after a festival cancellation so how did I, a lowly hack with just 300 Twitter followers and a Tesco pay-as-you-go SIM card, snatch this exclusive scoop? Naturally, I broke into the roof of Warp Records’ headquarters in the dead of night, lowering myself down from the ceiling like a taller, prettier and less theologically misguided Tom Cruise. I tip-toed over and limboed under countless high-tech laser censors. I pacified the slavering guard dogs by feeding them Aldi bratwurst and swapping Battles for Eno on the office stereo. Searching high and low, I rifled through thousands of abstract artwork posters. I rummaged around in a gigantic pile of unsold Maximo Park CDs. Eventually, there it lay, concealed under sheets and sheets of sexually-explicit doodles scribbled by TV’s Christopher Morris. Yes, Warp Boss Steve Beckett’s personal laptop! I tried several passwords. “Gonjasufi”. “Nightmaresonwax”. “LFOremix”. After just a few hours I cracked it: “SonDEremawe”. Simple as that! I searched for SYRO, downloaded the files to my iPod, and got out of there quicker than you can say “Petiatil Cx Htdui”. So after great personal risk, may I present to you, dear readers, ahead of this weekend’s listening parties, the very first, track-by-track review of Aphex Twin’s long-awaited new album:

01. minipops 67 (source field mix)
An understated opener. There are no drumbeats. No synths. No samples. It’s basically just a 4-track recording of Richard James plucking the same ukulele note over and over again while an anonymous assistant rubs sandpaper across his greying beard. Existentially haunting.

02. XMAS_EVET10 (thanaton3 mix)
Here we go, SYRO’s first proper banger! It’s like a ‘Mt Saint Michel + Saint Michaels Mount’ for the nihilistically apathetic post-Only God Forgives cultural milieu. Imagine taking drum & bass, halving it, multiplying it by Flying Lotus, and then adding three-fifths of an ex-Napalm Death member who now dabbles in techno. The track’s only drawback is the gobbledegook chorus sung by Charli XCX wearing black lipstick and torn Topshop fishnets.

03. produk 29
A bit like trying to destroy an early twentieth-century washboard using only your teeth and one pipette-drop of hydrochloric acid. Best on headphones. Unless you’ve got shit headphones, of course.

04. 4 bit 9d api+e+6
A radical departure for the ‘Twin. This is a jaunty brass-backed summertime ditty that nods to likes of Mumford & Sons, Jake Bugg, Elbow, Bon Iver, and Fatman Scoop’s early material. ‘4 bit 9d api+e+6’ could’ve been Aphex’s biggest crossover hit to date, had the repeated vocal samples not been quite so openly anti-Quaker.

05. 180db_ 
An ear-shatteringly abrasive pastiche of hyperspeed quasi-gonzo hedgerow funk. Comes with a free sticker-book and set of six mauve pencils.

06. CIRCLONT6A (syrobonkus mix)
This one is kinda like waking up in an abandoned laboratory to find you’re the middle section of a human centipede with Wolfgang Voigt sewed to your arsehole and Kevin Drumm up the front. It turns out that William Bennett off of Cut Hands is the mad scientist behind this spliced atrocity and he keeps feeding Drumm with Jamie Oliver’s peppered courgette fritters while screaming, “I’m not a bloody racist, all right?!!!”

07. fz pseudotimestretch+e+3
You know that second track on Autechre’s third EP? The one you pretended to like as a student? This is basically its sequel, with a more foreboding subtext of strained aquatic grief. Oh, and there’s a pretty nifty Rubiks solo to boot.

08. CIRCLONT14 (shrymoming mix)
If you enjoy the sensation of having your ears coated in custard skin while Squarepusher milks an albino platypus with a faulty purple dustbuster, then this is the twelve-minute Bhangra symphony for you!

09. Informer (Radio Mix)
A surprisingly faithful rendition of Canadian reggae star Snow’s 1992 chart smash.

10. PAPAT4 (pineal mix)
An unlistenable cacophonic fusion of glo-fi synths, jungle beats, Afro-Luxembourgian timpani, 2-step sellotapewave, harsh Seoul-soul, bubblegum krunk, post-Calpol don’t-wop, emo fingerjazz, lowercase lounging thug-bop, Mafiosi minibilly, disembodied voices that sound like floating Cornish satsumas, and a sample of something you heard while browsing the chinos section of Urban Outfitters. Skippable filler.

11. s950tx16wasr10 (earth portal mix)
Harks back to Selected Ambient Works Volume II, if you were to replace the words “Ambient Works Volume” with “Out Of Hell” and “Selected” with “Bat”. Now older and fatter, Richard James embraces operatic soft rock, singing about Harley Davidsons, dashboards, fast women, Frankensteins and lemons. Doesn’t really work in context with the rest of the album.

12. aisatsana
Originally titled ‘stsn’ in tribute to Bobby Gillespie who once took so much Sudafed that he thought the vowels were going to crawl off the front of an album cover and eat his top two layers of skin, a trauma which inspired the cautiously-named XTRMNTR by ‘PRML SCRM’. However, James reinstalled his vowels after realising that ‘stsn’ was an utterly unpronounceable and frankly silly title for an Aphex Twin song. A poignant closer, full to the brim with jangling ketchup clicks and swelling humpback Klimt-core viola. Leaves you thinking, “yeah, that’ll do, see you in another thirteen years, mate.”

Wednesday, 13 August 2014


“As I’m sure you’re aware, we’ve always maintained a strict ‘no dickhead’ rule for our events,” explained a spokesperson for All Tomorrow’s Parties. “Unfortunately, founder Barry Hogan caught sight of his own reflection in a mirror at the weekend, so Jabberwocky had to be cancelled without delay. It was like at the end of Dorian Gray, but with extra vomit.”

Thursday, 10 July 2014


The Arctic Monkeys are among a range of successful musicians who have been named as part of a controversial tune avoidance scheme.

A secret database leaked to The Times newspaper revealed around 1,600 people who tried to shelter their wealth of melodies through an “aggressive tune avoidance strategy” known as “pulling a full Barlow”.

The Times reports that since the release of their debut album, the Arctic Monkeys have been hiding between 557,000 and 1.1 million of undisclosed tunes, having chosen to share only their most humdrum and monotonous morsels with the public.

Katie Melua and George Michael are also accused of using the scheme, the latter having failed to give the world a decent tune since about 1994.

Thursday, 15 May 2014


The leader of the 1791 Haitian Revolution, Toussaint L’Ouverture aka “The Black Napoleon”, has resurrected himself and immediately opened a lawsuit against Michael Gira and his rock group Swans.

The point of contention is a song entitled ‘Bring The Sun/Toussaint L’Ouverture’, a thirty-five minute morbid rock dirge that is the centrepiece of Swans’ latest critically-adored album To Be Kind. L’Ouverture’s lawyers hope to secure a substantial sum for damages as well as a stake in all future Swans music and merchandise royalties. They accuse Gira of violating L’Ouverture’s intellectual property rights, defamation of character, and misappropriating L’Ouverture’s name. 

L’Ouverture was reborn last Thursday in Port-au-Prince via an elaborate voodoo ceremony involving painted skulls, rosary beads, a bunch of really freaky-looking masks and Baron Samedi from Live And Let Die.

A press statement from L’Ouverture reads:
“Since dying in imprisonment at the hands of the French in 1803, I have witnessed countless reprehensible actions from the vantage point of my wicker throne in the netherdimension. The country whose independence I secured through the only successful slave revolt in history has suffered under countless internal and external threats and misfortunes. The French resisted our bid for freedom and even had the gall to attempt to reconquer us. The Americans refused to recognize our independence until decades after their own civil war and then occupied us in 1915. We’ve been ruled by merciless dictators. We’ve been blighted by earthquakes, tropical storms and devastating famines. And to make matters worse, in 2010 Wyclef Jean off of The Fugees turned up wanting to be President. Now this is the last straw. Michael Gira waving his arms around pretending to be me. What’s he playing at? Shouting my name. Acting like he’s channelling my spirit. It’s not on. Everyone has a go at Avril Lavigne for that Hello Kitty song but I don’t see any critics accusing this Gira pillock of cultural appropriation, just because the Swans are actually good. Well that’s no excuse.”

Should the lawsuit fail, L’Ouverture plans to form a rival group of post-no wave droners with members of Earth, Throbbing Gristle and Oxbow so that he can compose his own overlong indulgent slab of dawdling metal in which he repeats the words “Michael Gira, Michael Gira, Michael Gira, Michael Gira” over and over again in an authoritative baritone while vehemently refusing to change chords.

Thursday, 17 April 2014



After pledging their “strongest commitment to the arts we’ve made in a generation”, the BBC has announced that it is to relaunch its faintly alternative digital radio station 6 Music under the exciting new name ‘Elbow FM’.

Henceforth, the majority of the channel’s airtime will be taken up by Elbow frontman Guy Garvey playing his favourite records, his friends’ favourite records and his favourite records made by his friends, interspersed with banal anecdotes about how many of his musical heroes he’s met, seen in concert, collaborated with, or befriended. In the scant moments when Garvey is not DJing, the station’s few remaining presenters will spin their own favourite Elbow tracks, encourage listeners to phone in with ‘unforgettable Elbow memories’, and narrate in-depth documentaries about the band Elbow. So pretty much the same as it is now.

Speaking about the announcement, the humble Northern everyman Garvey said, “I remember I was in a Los Angeles deli with Laura Marling when I heard the news. She was finishing her blackberry pancakes and I had just ordered my signature cocktail. It’s called Grounds For Divorce Woah Woah Woah Woah Woah Woah Woah. I’d like to thank the BBC for all the support they’ve given to Elbow, Elbow’s friends, and all the other groups out there who sound exactly like Elbow. Anyway, I’ve got to go now, I’m meeting Badly Drawn Boy for an sneaky ale and then I have to interview Bob Dylan about his all-time top five Elbow albums.”

Wednesday, 26 March 2014



Northern post-punk misanthropes The Fall have unveiled a very special release for this year’s Record Store Day. The Entertainment Scam is a box set compiling all of the band’s previous box sets. The box-set-boxed-set will include The Fall Box Set 1976-2007The 5 Albums Box Set, The Touch Sensitive Bootleg Box SetThe Complete Peel Sessions, The Rough Trade Singles Box, This Nation’s Saving Grace (Omnibus Edition), and much, much more.

Also housed within the box-box are reams of sycophantic liner notes by a host of top television comedians such as Stewart Lee, Frank Skinner and James Corden, a previously unreleased track of Mark E. Smith repeating the phrase “Irkutskian rimple flake” over a primitive keyboard beat for around seven or eight minutes, and a soggy Salford beer-mat that once rested the pint of the great MES himself. The enormous box-box even comes with its own rusty wheelbarrow for easy transportation.

Speaking about the release, The Fall frontman said, “gurgle gurgle gurgle fucccckin’ gggggggrrrrruuuuugggggh-aaah garggantuan gggarrulous geriatric garlic-ah gibbets grrrrghgdddd gurgle gurgle fucccckin’ gurgle-aah”. Clearly, Mark has never been more delighted.

The box-set-box-set will retail at £312.97p, or you can snap it up for a mere £24,875.04p off eBay on DARSD (Day After Record Store Day). The set-set has a strictly limited edition run of 400 copies (until frivolously reprinted at a later date).

Wednesday, 19 February 2014



Extending his string of ‘guerrilla’ gigs, the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince has announced he will perform a secret concert tonight at a famous venue that you can’t possibly reach quickly enough to secure a decent position in the queue, let alone have time to arrange a babysitter.

The purple-clad 80s star who hasn’t released a good album in, like, twenty years or something has managed to revive massive interest in his dwindling career through the unprecedented, innovative and groundbreaking promotional tactic of playing his songs, live, onstage, in some popular music venues.

The concerts have been hailed as “pant-soilingly orgasmic” by London media types who don’t have proper jobs and could float with ease to the abruptly-announced locations on the magic carpets they call ‘Oyster Cards’, leaving the rest of the country feeling excluded, uncool, and sex deprived.

However, Prince has promised that he will head up north at the end of this week where he will wow the socks off John Thomson, John Robb, Wayne Rooney, and Norris from Coronation Street. It is predicted that he will not play the Batman LP in its entirety.

Friday, 24 January 2014


It has been confirmed that this week’s Grammy Awards ceremony will include a very special performance, as Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will fight one another to the death in order to finally determine who will become the last surviving Beatle.

Speculation has been mounting since Starr “called out” McCartney on his All-Starr Band’s 2010 album Live at the Greek Theatre. The spectacle will be a treat for all Beatles enthusiasts, promising to come close to the unsurpassable level of thrilling tenseness captured in the footage of the Let It Be recording sessions.

The duo will perform a couple of their old hits one final, poignant time before each selecting a weapon from the gladiatorial arsenal at stage left. The audience will be encouraged to chant the “na na na” bit from the end of ‘Hey Jude’ over and over again until one ex-member of the Fab Four ceases to breathe. The victor will then be crowned with an apple-shaped coronet and the loser’s body thrown into a skip round the back with host LL Cool J’s discarded jokes and Robin Thicke’s latest victims.

Commenting on the imminent tussle, Sir Paul McCartney said, “I love Ringo, y’now, oh yeah, woooooo. He’s a brother, y’know, oooooooh, a brother to me, all right, wooooooh, yeah. But we gotta sort this out, y’know? Ooooooh. Oh yeah.”

Not-Sir Ringo Starr MBE had these firm words for his opponent: “That asshole is going down, man. Peace and love, peace and love. I’m gonna teach him pain the likes of which he’s never imagined in his worst nightmares. Peace and love, peace and love. He is one dead motherf***er. Peace and love, peace and love.”

The evening will then climax with Dave Grohl and Josh Homme collaborating on some really weak shit.

Friday, 3 January 2014



My Duncan Bannatyne - m d b
If you were a lively new band with an exciting debut to plug in 2013, your chances were doomed to failure. With the marketplace saturated by the overdue return of countless yesteryear legends, 2013 was instantly heralded as “The Year of the Splashback”. The trend began in February as the music press went into hysterical, thigh-rubbing overdrive after a certain highly-influential recluse suddenly announced his return after several years of mysterious absence. The abrupt release of My Duncan Bannatyne’s third LP caused Twitter to crash, Amazon were forced to build a whole new warehouse to deal with the quantity of orders, and droves of music journalists had to cancel all immediate plans to stay up all night writing about something they hadn’t had any time to fully absorb. The Guardian wrote that with its “vocals half-buried beneath a mesh of guitars and samples so dense as to be unfathomable”, m d b “instils a kind of pleasurably baffled awe”. Pitchfork praised its unconventional, spookily timeless mixture of oceanic distortion, ethereal singing, and angry Scotch entrepreneurialism. And Paul Morley eulogized this cultural watershed on the BBC’s relaunched Review Show through the medium of a startlingly erotic interpretive dance wearing a black turtleneck and no trousers.

David Bowie - Remember Heroes? That was good wasn’t it? This isn’t Heroes
Another month, another return of some legend or other. This time, Lord David of Bowie cancelled dinner plans with Ricky “mong-basher” Gervais, threw a new LP into the trough of the grovelling public, and promptly naffed off again with one casual flap of his Goblin King cloak without even bothering to tour. Still, at least the record’s po-mo back-referencing artwork inspired many of us to dust off our copies of Heroes, book tickets for that V&A show and relive happier times. The Bowie show proved the most successful exhibition to hit London since David Hockney’s propagandist campaign to convince Southerners that there’s actually some colour in the North of England and that the trees are bright purple and everything (f.y.i. the reality up here remains very much dead monochrome kestrels and whippet-baiting gambling rings).

Primal Scream - More Shine A Light
Inspired by Primal Scream’s incendiary More Shine A Light record, in May 2013 the lower classes rose up against their pompous oppressors, stormed Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament, beheaded Gideon Osborne, Jeremy Hunt and that one with the stoat’s face, tattooed Nick Clegg’s pink, wrinkled brow with the word “COLLABORATOR”, set fire to Amazon’s London offices, and quickly established a collective neo-Socialist utopia. Regrettably, Cameron The Unslayable managed to seize back power and restore the ancien regime when the newly-elected members of the National Convention were distracted by updating the nation’s facebook status to ‘Republic’ on their communal iPad4. As soon as the first eight episodes of the final series of Breaking Bad were released on DVD, the masses had forgotten all about More Shine A Light and the failed revolution of 2013 became just another footnote in the remarkable canon of English history. At least one good thing came out of the botched rebellion, however. Radical Trotskyite satirist Ben Elton’s hastily-penned musical Les Screamables sold out its entire West End run and is soon to be made into a feature film directed by Tobe ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ Hooper and starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Amanda Seyfried as ‘Johnny Guitar’, ‘Kowalski’, ‘Velocity Girl’ and ‘Miss Lucifer’ respectively.

Frank Turder - Tape Deck Fart
Promoting his fifth solo album in August of this year, cack-bearded libertarian Frank Turder paid fitting tribute to Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain by rolling onto the Reading Festival stage in a wheelchair, impregnating Courtney Love, shooting up a big old bag of heroin with his buddy Mark Lanegan, singing a few Meat Puppets covers instead of the hits, and then blowing his own cack-bearded head off with a shotgun. “A gutsy performance,” remarked a popular glossy metal mag, “but headliners Biffy Clyro were the true heroes of the weekend.”

Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter Two
“How can I make free-jazz-beat-poetry even more inaccessible? I know! I’ll put some opera singing on it!”
Wire just called, they want you for a cover feature.”

Quentin Blake - Overblown
Winner of the 2013 award for the best album by an act who paid money to be on the shortlist for the award for the best album by an act who paid money to be on the shortlist for the award for best album by an act who paid money to be on the shortlist for the best album by an act who paid money to be on the shortlist for the award for best album........

The Octogenarian Roald Dahl illustrator saw off stiff competition from several up-and-coming artists in dire need of the prize fund and resultant publicity boost such as Ricky “I’m being ironic, me” Gervais’ side-kick Lord David of Bowie. Also nominated were Arctic Monkeys for their album Well Howdy-doody Ya’ll, We’re From Lil’ Ol’ Sheffield, Yee-haa!, the debut record by pottery-loving kiln-enthusiast Bake Jugg, Savages, Villagers, Pillagers, Privileges, Suede’s Suede and probably something by PJ Harvey I imagine. Yet there were also several controversial absences from the shortlist. Critically acclaimed Leeds psych-rockers Hookworms were denied entry for being poor and Northern, while My Chicken Ballotine were banned because it isn’t 1991 anymore. Blake won a cheque for 20,000 shillings, a brand new set of watercolours, and a guaranteed appearance on the 2017 edition of Celebrity Masterchef.

Morrissey - Autobiography
Albums are sooooo last millennium. Words printed on paper are where it’s at these days, grandpa. Besides, reading the bitter, weirdly spelt rants of this quiffy vegan was infinitely more enjoyable than listening to Haim or Arcade Fire or those bloody French robots. Its publication under the Penguin Classics imprint caused outrage among literary purists. Indeed, with its overweight, self-obsessive, misanthropic protagonist who lives in a permanent state of aggravated despair at the repulsive vulgarity of British society while retaining a bigoted antipathy towards foreigners, Tobias Smollett’s Humphry Clinker has very little in common with Morrissey’s tome. The publication proved so repugnant to Lou Reed that he spontaneously keeled over and died simply to prevent himself from ever writing anything remotely similar.

Keane - The Best of Keane
Before Marcus Mumford and his dungareed troupe of illusory male offspring, it was posh boys Keane who attracted the ire of often equally middle-class culture critics. Not without good reason, of course. To describe Keane as wet is an insult all liquids. But in the same way that the repugnant atrocities committed by the New Labour regime no longer seem quite so villainous in light of the Tory/Lib Dem coalition or how one might have felt queasily nostalgic for John Major’s dull cone-hotline reign at the height of Blair’s megalomania, after hearing ‘I Will Wait’ for the 2,048th time, Keane don’t seem so sickening after all.

Keane’s reputation was also rejuvenated by chief songwriter Tim Rice-Oxley-Palmer-Tonkinson winning this year’s annual Bollockvember competition. Like Christians hijacking the winter solstice or the execution of Christ being usurped by choccy egg makers, the annual Festival of Testicular Wellbeing is barely recognisable from its Anglo-Saxon origins. What in ancient times was a pious, community-focussed event has transformed over the centuries into nothing more than grunting masculine exhibitionism. On the morn of the First of November, all British males are obliged to shave or wax every strand of hair from their genital regions. They must then spend the next thirty days with their bare knackers hanging out of their flies so that their fellow citizens and prospective sexual partners can observe the speed and thickness in the gradual daily growth of their pubic follicles. Naturally, most of the male populace are delighted to walk around for a month with their love pumpkins on dangling display while guzzling lager and singing Fat Les songs, but every year there are a small number of dissenting spoilsports. By law, all gentlemen too humble, timid, or stubborn to partake in the gonadular merriment are shipped to a penal colony in the darkest depths of Wales. Here, the deplorable goolie-hiders are chained to fenceposts and forced to watch manliness-incarnate Tom Jones spread-eagle on an emerald beanbag, stroking the silky white hair of his gargantuan sex orbs like a Bond villain with his cat.

The surprising victor of this year’s Most Hirsute Nadgers competition was indeed Keane’s previously-derided Tim Rice-Oxley-Rees-Moog-Bonham-Carter-Worrall-Thompson. Unfortunately, the victory of Tim Rice-Oxley-Ellis-Bextor-Lloyd-Webber-Fearnley-Whittingstall-Street-Preachers has had the unfortunate effect of throwing all rock journalism into flux which is traditionally based on the “[This aggressive metal band] HAS BALLS! / [This floppy-fringed fawning indie troupe] HAVE NO BALLS!” system of categorisation.

Johnny Borrell - Borrell one, Leyton Orient nil
July saw the much-anticipated release of foal-faced ex-Razorlight singer Johnny Borrell’s debut solo album. After Q Magazine hailed it “the greatest work of art by any human being since Adele’s 21 or that third Killers LP or something”, Borrell 1 became the biggest-selling record of all time, the singer was swiftly shunted to top of the V Festival bill where he was carried aloft by the crowd in a golden throne, and a polls-damaged David Cameron felt obliged to issue a fast-track knighthood. Meanwhile, in a cruel twist of fortunes, Sir Borrell’s old badminton partner Pete Doherty was forced to find new work as a toothless boot cobbler in Camden Town. He’ll also cut your keys if you can trust him with them.

Miley Cyrus - Bangerz ‘n’ Mash
The sex-trafficked Disney refugee’s stock rocketed this year thanks to her furiously sensual tongue-protruding duet with smarm lord Robin Thicke at an awards ceremony for music videos held by a music television channel that doesn’t show music videos. The reactions to this harmless bit of slap and tickle degradation were many and varied. Madonna was so appalled that she yoga-ed over to her magic looking glass to ask, “mirror, mirror, on the wall / who’s the most empowered of them all?” Shaken by the response “you, my Madge, are empowered, that’s true / but Cyrus is even more empowered than you”, Madonna yoga-ed back to her Kabbalah-phone to order a truckload of S&M gear, the tightest Victorian corset still in existence, and one of those intimidating sex-swing things for her next world tour stageshow. The management teams behind the likes of Rihanna and Gaga began scribbling down ways in which their own clients could up their sexual game and the putrefying dungpile we call civilisation slipped ever closer towards irreversible craptaculousness.

Thankfully, Lily Allen was on hand to condemn ‘Saucy Cyrus’ with her pungently twerk-centric anti-twerk video ‘Hard Out There’. The video was Britain’s greatest work of satire since Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall. Unfortunately, like Waugh, it was also pretty racist. Allen was soon forced to release a statement refuting such allegations. “I do not objectify black things”, she protested, “some of my best things are black.”

Beyoncé - Beyoncé
In your face all you blogs, mags, and newspapers who churned out your end of year best-of lists in October/November/December! You weren’t expecting the Queen Bee to suddenly release an album on December 13 were you? See, it pays off to be too lazy to post a list before the first week of January, when list season is already officially over and nobody gives a shit about 2013 anymore. My list includes Beyonce! Yours didn’t! Ha. What does the album actually sound like? Erm... it includes... err... some of Knowles’ finest vocal performances to date... and... plenty of sass? Too many ballads, maybe? Some lyrics about how much she loves Jay-Z? I HAVE LISTENED TO IT I PROMISE.